Himachal Pradesh

Chail Wildlife Sanctuary

Chail Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Solan District

Area:110 sq. kms

Uniqueness:Apart from its animals and birds, the main attraction of the sanctuary is the Chir Pheasant breeding farm. The Chir Pheasant breeding and rehabilitation programme has been started in 1988. Visitors can come to the Chir Pheasant Breeding centres situated at Blossom and Jhajja. The forests are mainly dense covers of Oak and Pine, apart from the other major grassland covers.

Flora:The forests in Chail sanctuary mainly comprises of Pine and Oak trees. The northern slopes are forested while southern slopes support grasslands, usually with patches of forest or scrub in the depressions. Grasslands are maintained by regular burning and cutting of plants. Rhododendron forms pure stands in places and Cedar and Blue Pine have been sown in some areas. There is little mature forest and much secondary growth in these areas. The forest is largely confined to the northern half of the sanctuary. The grassland of Sanctuary also has some small stretches of Pine, Oak, Cedar and Robinia.

Fauna:Chail Sanctuary has mainly mammals in its area. The large mammals include rhesus macaque, leopard, Indian muntjac and goral crested porcupine. Other species include Himalayan black bear, wild boar, common langur, sambar, black-naped hare. European red deer was introduced half a century ago by the former Maharaja of Patiala but none was sighted during a census in 1988.

Accessibility:Chail sanctuary can be reached from Shimla (40 kms), and Chail (3 kms) by road. Shimla can be reached by the means of train or flights. Chail city to Chail sanctuary trip (3 Km) is one of the most favored small treks in the region.

Accommodation:Chail has some good stay options for the visitors. Accommodation options vary in Chail from luxurious hotels such as HPTDC’s Palace Hotel to budget hotels, cottages and tourist lodges, which are available at reasonable prices.

Season:March to October

Contact:Director, Department of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Block No. 28, SDA Complex, Vikas Nagar, Shimla-171009

Pin Valley National Park

Pin Valley National Park

Location: Spiti District

Area:675 sq.km

Uniqueness:The lush green head of the Kullu Valley; awesome vista of bare, brown mountains; hanging glaciers, and snowfields that dazzle in the crisp light. Placed in the district of Lahaul and Spiti (Himachal Pradesh) this region has been untouched by the onslaughts of time.

Flora:Dry alpine and dwarf junifer scrub are the major forest types found in this region. Major floral varieties available in the park are bhojpatra (Betula utilis), bhutal (Juniperus mecropoda), Populus Spp and Salix Spp.

Fauna:Being a high altitude national park, Pin Valley is home to a variety of rare animals like woolly hare, Tibetan gazzle, and snow leopard. Other faunal species present here are: fox , wolf, ibex , bharal, and Himalayan marmot, Indian porcupine , blue sheep red billed chough, patridge , snow patridge, blue rock pigeon, snow pigeon, Himalayan snowcock, Tibetan wild ass, wooly flying squirrel , Himalayan black bear , Himalayan brown bear, mouse hare, Indian wolf ? the list seems unending.

Accessibility:BY AIR – The nearest airport is at Bhuntar in Kullu district. Private operators operate flights to Delhi from here; therefore it would be wise to confirm flight schedules etc. in advance. BY RAIL – Shimla at a distance of around 443 km is the nearest railhead.

Accommodation:Bunkers have been constructed by the wildlife authorities in the Pin Valley National Park region which is a suitable way to stay there. Camping is the best way to spend night in the park. One can also avail accommodation at Kaza, the nearest town, which is also the administrative centre of Spiti.

Season:May to October

Contact:Director, Pin Valley National Park at Kaza,

The Great Himalayan National Park

The Great Himalayan National Park

Location: Tehsil Banjar, Kullu

Area:765 sq km.

Uniqueness:The park has some very unique features, which you may not find elsewhere in India. A major part of the national park is permanently under glaciers and ice. It is one of the last undisturbed Western Himalayan ecosystems giving shelters to a vast variety of wildlife and forests. The biological richness of the park makes it a bewitching destination in this part of India.

Flora:The area below 2,000 metres is dominated by blue pine and higher up by a broad broadleaved forest on sloping areas and fir on the steep areas. Other vegetations are oak, blue pine, cedar (Cedrus), deodar, bamboo Arundaria spathiflora, Iris, Frittilaria, Gagea, Primula, and Taxus Baccata.

Fauna:Among the animals found in this part of the Western Himalayas are Musk Deer, Ghoral, Lagurs, Thar, Bharal, Serow, Brown Bear, Leopard and Snow Leopard.

Accessibility:Airport: At Bhuntar (10 km from Kullu), where taxis and buses are available. Railways: Narrow gauge railhead at Jogindernagar, (95 km from Kullu). Road: To get to the Great National Himalayan Park one has to take the eastern divergence at Aut on the Kullu- Manali highway. Aut is 45 km from Mandi and 30 km from Kullu. From Largi which is 4 km from Aut, two routes, one along the Sainj Nala, motorable till Neuli (26 km) and the other along Tirthan Nala, motorable upto Gushaini (28 km) lead to the park.

Accommodation:Accommodation within the Great Himalayan National Park is inexpensive, though limited in its scope; about the only place you can stay is one of the dozen-odd forest rest houses scattered across the park. The facilities are minimal, and you’d be well advised to bring your own bedding and food. Rooms here must be reserved well in advance by contacting the Park authorities. Forest resthouses exist at Aut, Sainj, Sairopa and Shangarh; for all, reservations need to be made well before you arrive.

Season:April to June and September to November

Contact:Director, Great Himalayan National Park, Shamshi, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, Pin-175126 India.

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